Civil society

JFF summed up the Range of Regional Workshops on OGP Initiative


“Journalists for the Future” NGO (JFF) concluded the range of regional workshops entitled “Open Government Partnership Initiative” with a round table held in Yerevan on February 3, 2015.

The event was attended by more than 20 representatives of the state bodies, civil society and international donor organizations engaged in OGP-Armenia.

Aleksandr Shagafyan, the event coordinator, the Project Director of US Alumni Association of Armenia, welcomed the participants and noted that the grant provided to Suren Deheryan by US Government, member of US Alumni Association of Armenia and JFF president has served its purpose, that is, to introduce the OGP initiative to CSO representatives from Armenian regions. “We followed the implementation process of the project, covered it and we can state that the mission based on the project was fulfilled,” Shagafyan emphasized.

According to Suren Deheryan, this was the second experience to cooperate with US Alumni Association of Armenia: the previous project implemented in 2010 was addressed to people with hearing impairments, who obtained computer and photography skills, and now they can easily use different platforms of the Internet communicating with various strata of society.

Summarizing the results of the OGP project, Deheryan noted that more than 130 people –representatives of local CSOs, media outlets, and, merely, interested citizens – have attended the workshops held in Goris, Alaverdi, Gyumri, Armavir, Vanadzor, Gavar and Hrazdan with a goal to introduce the OGP initiative to representatives of regional CSOs.

“I aimed to organize the workshops before the approval of OGP-Armenia 2014-2016 Action plan so that regional CSOs got informed about the process and were engaged in the development process of the Action plan, but the project was launched in September,” Deheryan mentioned and added that they have applied to CSOs of all of the regions with an open letter and the training venues were selected according to the interest shown by this or that region.

The workshop participants were introduced to significance of OGP international initiative, the successful experience of other countries within the framework of this initiative, obligations undertaken by RA Government, initiatives of CSOs involved in OGP working group as well as opportunities of active engagement of regional CSO representatives. The participants were provided with hand-on materials, literature and a list of useful links on OGP initiative. Contact database of CSO representatives has been created as a result of workshops to later use it in activating the collaboration among the civil society network.

All of the 11 obligations of OGP-Armenia second Action plan were discussed and the participants’ proposals, opinions and approaches were collected during the practical sections of workshops. They were represented to the round table participants and will be disseminated among all the interested bodies engaged in OGP.

According to Deheryan, as a result of regional workshops it should be stated that the majority of participants were not aware of the initiative, although they demonstrated interest. “The main thing is to keep it and with the second phase to activate their engagement in OGP,” Deheryan noted.

Ashot Melikyan, Chairman of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, highlighted the importance of regional workshops emphasizing that the project should have a second phase and should be implemented in other regions as well.

In the second part of the meeting Aram Asatryan, adviser on public governance issues of the staff of RA Government, member of OGP working group, introduced the implementation process of the obligations envisaged by OGP-Armenia 2014-2016 Action plan. He noted that according to information provided by responsible bodies, activities planned by the obligations have already launched and are in different phases of implementation. Referring to regional workshops organized by JFF, Asatryan underlined the importance of their continuation and evoking interest among regional CSOs.

The next speaker was Liana Doydoyan, expert at Freedom of Information Center and member of OGP working group. She referred to OGP-Armenia civil society representatives’ network which was created to activate collaboration between CSOs within OGP. She mentioned that active engagement of civil society in this process has always been an actual issue and called on to join and to participate in the evaluation process of the obligations’ implementation.

The participants reached an agreement to share the contacts they possess and to develop new mechanisms for the collaboration between CSOs and civil society-Government. 

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